Egypt cancels North Sinai cement licence

Egypt cancels North Sinai cement licence
Published: 16 December 2009

Egypt has cancelled the licence of North Sinai Cement because of start-up delays, one of four company licences that were under review, the head of the Industrial Development Authority said on Tuesday.

"A final decision to cancel North Sinai’s cement licence was certified today," the authority’s head, Amr Assal, told Reuters, adding that the three other licences were extended.

"Necessary capital raising contracts and fundraising was not carried out by the company in a manner satisfying the committee’s requirements," he said.

The committee had already cancelled the licence of one company, El Wadi Cement, in November.

In October 2007, Egypt granted six greenfield cement factory licences and two more to expand production, in a bid to boost production after rising local prices drove them to impose an export duty in February.

North Sinai will be given two months to challenge the decision, he said, adding that El Wadi Cement had so far not submitted an appeal.

The three firms granted extended licences were al-Arabiya al-Wataniya, El-Nahda Industries and Assiut Cement, the local affiliate of Mexican company Cemex .

Assiut Cement, although not developing a greenfield site, has upgraded its existing lime site and had raised production capacity to 5.8Mta from 4.2Mta, Assal previously said.

Al-Nahda Co for Industries raised a E£1.2bn (US$219m) syndicated loan, signed this month, to build a cement plant in southern Egypt.

Al-Nahda is owned 30 percent by National Cement Co. and 30 per cent by Egyptian builder Arab Contractors.

Egypt’s Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid said in November that cement consumption in Egypt was up about 25 to 30 percent and production was topping 50Mt.